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Technology Matters: Questions to Live With…
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Technology Matters: Questions to Live With (urspr publ 2006; utgåvan 2007)

av David E. Nye

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852240,998 (3.78)2
Discusses in nontechnical language ten central questions about technology that illuminate what technology is and why it matters. Technology matters, writes David Nye, because it is inseparable from being human. We have used tools for more than 100,000 years, and their central purpose has not always been to provide necessities. People excel at using old tools to solve new problems and at inventing new tools for more elegant solutions to old tasks. Perhaps this is because we are intimate with devices and machines from an early age--as children, we play with technological toys: trucks, cars, stoves, telephones, model railroads, Playstations. Through these machines we imagine ourselves into a creative relationship with the world. As adults, we retain this technological playfulness with gadgets and appliances--Blackberries, cell phones, GPS navigation systems in our cars. We use technology to shape our world, yet we think little about the choices we are making. In Technology Matters, Nye tackles ten central questions about our relationship to technology, integrating a half-century of ideas about technology into ten cogent and concise chapters, with wide-ranging historical examples from many societies. He asks: Can we define technology? Does technology shape us, or do we shape it? Is technology inevitable or unpredictable? (Why do experts often fail to get it right?)? How do historians understand it? Are we using modern technology to create cultural uniformity, or diversity? To create abundance, or an ecological crisis? To destroy jobs or create new opportunities? Should "the market" choose our technologies? Do advanced technologies make us more secure, or escalate dangers? Does ubiquitous technology expand our mental horizons, or encapsulate us in artifice? These large questions may have no final answers yet, but we need to wrestle with them--to live them, so that we may, as Rilke puts it, "live along some distant day into the answers."… (mer)

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It's now available as an ebook on the MITpress portal http://mitpress-ebooks.mit.edu/product/technology-matters
  ipublishcentral | Oct 30, 2009 |
I wish that I'd read this a few years ago before I started teaching STS--that's my main thought. This is a wonderful primer and in-depth discussion on matters and thoughts related to technologies and their development alongside society (global, but with a focus on America). While I've already got a strong background in STS (Science and Technology in Society), this was still a worthwhile read. It takes the familiar and forces serious consideration, all the while giving readers time to think instead of attempting to argue a particular viewpoint. It is well-written, engaging, and thoughtful.

If you're remotely interested in the way that technology (and humanity's perception of technology) has shaped and interacted with the building of our society and culture, I'd recommend it highly. Even if you just want an interesting nonfiction read that you can pick up in fits and starts, this is worthwhile and engaging. If you're looking for something to learn from and think about that applies to your every day life, this is a good choice. ( )
1 rösta whitewavedarling | Mar 17, 2008 |
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The mainstream media can be so compelling that they define the limits of debate. Thus arises ‘repressive tolerance,’ in which all views can be permitted because most protests and many practical suggestions will be overlooked. In allowing expression of all views, the government shows it is not repressive. As Herbert Marcuse put it, “the exercise of political rights (such as voting, letter writing to the press, to Senators, etc., protest-demonstrations with a priori renunciation of counter-violence) in a society of total administration serves to strengthen this administration by testifying to the existence of democratic liberties which, in reality, have changed their content and lost their effectiveness.”Under a regime of repressive tolerance only a minority of the population follows the news closely, and dissidents, minorities and eccentrics have no impact if permitted to speak freely, since major newspapers and television networks ignore them. The Internet may yet illustrate this process, despite its democratic promise. Initially, it seemed to empower individuals and grassroots organizations. Yet the older media have successfully transferred their brand names to the Internet, where large newspapers and television networks continue to define and disseminate much of the news. Whether this new medium turns out to be an instrument of democracy or an example of repressive tolerance remains to be seen.
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Discusses in nontechnical language ten central questions about technology that illuminate what technology is and why it matters. Technology matters, writes David Nye, because it is inseparable from being human. We have used tools for more than 100,000 years, and their central purpose has not always been to provide necessities. People excel at using old tools to solve new problems and at inventing new tools for more elegant solutions to old tasks. Perhaps this is because we are intimate with devices and machines from an early age--as children, we play with technological toys: trucks, cars, stoves, telephones, model railroads, Playstations. Through these machines we imagine ourselves into a creative relationship with the world. As adults, we retain this technological playfulness with gadgets and appliances--Blackberries, cell phones, GPS navigation systems in our cars. We use technology to shape our world, yet we think little about the choices we are making. In Technology Matters, Nye tackles ten central questions about our relationship to technology, integrating a half-century of ideas about technology into ten cogent and concise chapters, with wide-ranging historical examples from many societies. He asks: Can we define technology? Does technology shape us, or do we shape it? Is technology inevitable or unpredictable? (Why do experts often fail to get it right?)? How do historians understand it? Are we using modern technology to create cultural uniformity, or diversity? To create abundance, or an ecological crisis? To destroy jobs or create new opportunities? Should "the market" choose our technologies? Do advanced technologies make us more secure, or escalate dangers? Does ubiquitous technology expand our mental horizons, or encapsulate us in artifice? These large questions may have no final answers yet, but we need to wrestle with them--to live them, so that we may, as Rilke puts it, "live along some distant day into the answers."

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